Piano Puzzlers!

puzzlers

 

The Piano Puzzlers book is available in the O’Connor Music Studio library if you’d like to give any a try.  Piano Puzzlers as heard on American Public Media’s “Performance Today.” Includes 32 tunes with songs by Gershwin, Berlin, Arlen, Porter, Rodgers, Fats Waller, Lennon & McCartney, and others disguised in the styles of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Janacek, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bartok, and Copland.

Includes an introduction by Fred Child, host of “Performance Today” as well as background info by Bruce Adolphe. “Bruce Adolphe has taken a common musician’s party game and elevated it to high art and truly funny musical slapsticks. The Piano Puzzlers are a unique combination of extraordinary insight into the styles of many composers subtle, expert workmanship and great, great fun!”

From http://jasonmorris.blogsome.com/2008/08/08/piano-puzzlers/

If you’re a music geek (like me), I have a program for you. Now, let me be clear, to fully qualify as a music geek…you must have a fond appreciation for classical music (no, Poison, Quiet Riot, and Zepplin do not count as classical music). So, if you’re a “music geek” without an appreciation for classical music…well, I hate to burst your bubble…but, you’re not truly a music geek. Instead, you’re a music appreciator, but not a geek. So, if you just listen to indie music and scowl at anything on a label larger than Matador…don’t bother following the link I’ll provide…the fun will be lost on you…And, you probably won’t have a chance.

Every Wednesday night, on my way home from WNL, I turn on my local NPR station to listen to Piano Puzzlers on Performance Today. It’s absolutely incredible. A pianist/composer (Bruce Adolphe) takes a familiar folk or pop tune and sets it inside a classical masterpiece (or in the style of a particular composer). Sometimes it’s easy…sometimes it’s ridiculously difficult. There are days when I say, “got it” on the first pass. Then there are days when I say, “what the heck?” And, more often than not, I’m able to get either the popular/folk tune or the composer.

This is sad to admit, but there are nights when I’ll slow down on the drive home or sit in the car in the driveway to finish an episode. In fact, I get a little worked up if someone stops me after WNL…as I might miss the beginning of Piano Puzzlers (it usually hits around 8:20pm on our local station).

Take a listen to some of the archives and see if you can figure it out! It’s really cool…but probably only appreciated by music geeks (the kind of people that listen to NPR for their musical programs and not just the snipets of cool indie rock between segments on All Things Considered…which is a great show too).

Play Piano Puzzlers HERE!

August 22 ~ This Day in Music History

today

OCMS   1862 ~ Claude Debussy, French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music, though he himself disliked the term when applied to his compositions.
More information about Debussy

• 1906 ~ The Victor Talking Machine Company of Camden, New Jersey began to manufacture the Victrola (record player). The hand-cranked unit, with horn cabinet, sold for $200. Records sold separately.

• 1917 ~ John Lee Hooker, American blues guitarist and singer, born in Clarksdale, Miss. He began his career in Detroit in 1948 with the release of Boogie Chillun, the biggest of his several hit records and a staple of both the blues and rock repertoires. He toured continually, and among “deep blues” artists, enjoyed an unusually successful career, appearing in concerts and on recordings with many of the leading figures in rock. He was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

OCMS  1928 ~ Karlheinz Stockhausen, German composer
More information about Stockhausen
Read quotes by and about Stockhausen

• 1926 ~ Bob Flanigan, Singer with The Four Freshmen

• 1932 ~ The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) began its first experimental TV broadcast in England.

• 1938 ~ Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers appeared, dancing, on the cover of LIFE magazine, published on this day.

• 1938 ~ Count Basie recorded the classic swing tune, Jumpin’ at the Woodside, for Decca Records.

• 1942 ~ Joe Chambers, Musician: guitar, singer with The Chambers Brothers

• 1950 ~ Sam Neely, Singer

• 1960 ~ Debbi Peterson, Drummer, singer with Bangles

• 1961 ~ Roland Orzabal, Singer, guitarist

• 2002 ~ Frederick Selch, an advertising executive and magazine publisher who collected hundreds of antique musical instruments, died at the age of 72.
Selch began collecting almost 50 years ago and owned more than 300 musical instruments by 1977.
In that year, he founded the Federal Music Society, an organization dedicated to performing music from the Colonial-Federal period. The group’s 26 players used instruments in Selch’s collection to perform in more than 70 concerts.
Selch was also the owner, editor and publisher of Ovation, a monthly magazine about classical music, from 1983 to 1989. He produced the Broadway musical “Play Me a  Country Song” in 1982, and in the past 10 years was involved in a series of American  Music Festivals at Illinois Wesleyan University.
Selch, who received a master’s degree in radio-television production from Syracuse University, worked at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency from 1955 to 1974.
He is to be awarded a posthumous doctorate from the American Studies program at New York University.

• 2002 ~ Richard Lippold, a sculptor whose abstract works are featured at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall and at Harvard University, died. He was 87. Lippold created giant metal abstractions, many of which are suspended by wires so  they appear to be hovering or moving through space.
His piece World Tree, a 27-foot structure of straight and circular metal tubes that resembles a radio antenna, stands on the Harvard University campus.
He is also known for Ad Astra, a double spire that rises 115 feet in front of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, and Orpheous and Apollo, a constellation of bronze bars connected by wires in the lobby of Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center.
Lippold studied industrial design, piano and dance at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago. He worked as a freelance industrial designer for several years before teaching art at the University of Michigan.
He later taught at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt., and Hunter College in New York.

How Big are *Your* Hands?

pianist-hands

Redditor NeokratosRed  had an idea: depict the hands of great composers and pianists, according to the characteristics of their music. He shared it on the social media site, and also punted for suggestions of more. It has since received over 300,000 images views, and lots of further suggestions from fellow Redditors and piano geeks.

Whisks for Chopin’s elegant pianistic souffles, feather dusters for the gentle impressionism of Debussy, instruments of trade for the composer of the thunderous Hammerklavier sonata.

Piano, and the internet – top marks to the both of you.

via This infographic of composers’ hands is painfully (and hilariously) accurate | Classic FM.

March 25 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1699 ~ Johann Adolph Hasse, German composer, singer and teacher of music. Immensely popular in his time, Hasse was best known for his prolific operatic output, though he also composed a considerable quantity of sacred music.

. 1784 ~ François-Joseph Fetis, Belgian musicologist, composer, teacher, and influential music critic.

. 1851 ~ The Playel piano factory in Paris was destroyed by fire.  Playel was the favorite of Chopin in the 19th century, and it was identified with French composers known as the impressionist musicians of the early 20th century — like Ravel and Debussy.

Pleyel was founded in 1807 by Ignaz Pleyel, a composer and music publisher who studied with Franz Joseph Haydn.

. 1867 ~ Arturo Toscanini, Italian conductor and musical director. Famed for his temper in rehearsals, he was director of La Scala and the Metropolitan opera houses. He also conducted the NBC symphony orchestra. With a career spanned 68 years, he was a cellist at age 19
Read quotes by and about Toscanini
More information on Toscanini

. 1881 ~ Béla Bartók, Hungarian composer and pianist, born. His knowledge of western musical techniques allied to the inspiration he derived from Hungarian peasant songs enabled him to become a unique musical force.
More information about Bartók

. 1903 ~ Grammy winner Frankie Carle (Carlone), Pianist and bandleader
More about Carle

. 1913 ~ The Palace Theatre opened its doors in New York City. Ed Wynn was first on the vaudeville bill. Some 20 years later, Wynn would be named as radio’s top entertainer. He later became popular on television, as well.

. 1918 ~ Claude Debussy, French composer, died. His music, described as “musical Impressionism”, explored original avenues of expression.

. 1931 ~ Hal Kemp and his orchestra recorded Whistles, with Skinnay Ennis, for Brunswick Records. Both Kemp and Ennis sang in the Dorsey Brothers Concert Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Eugene Ormandy (later, conductor of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra). The pair were part of the orchestra vocal quartet that also featured Nye Mayhew and Saxey Dowell in 1928.

. 1934 ~ Johnny Burnette, ‘The Master’, singer, brother of singer Dorsey Burnette

. 1938 ~ Hoyt Axton, Singer, musician and songwriter. Axton’s mother, Mae Boren Axton, wrote Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel

. 1940 ~ Anita Bryant, Singer

. 1942 ~ Aretha Franklin, American soul singer, known as the “Queen of Soul” and “Lady Soul”, she won 15 Grammy Awards and was the first woman inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987)

. 1947 ~ Elton John (Reginald Kenneth Dwight), Entertainer
More information about John

. 1948 ~ Kelly Garrett, Actress, singer

. 1949 ~ Neil Jones, Musician with Amen Corner

. 1951 ~ Maizie Williams, Singer with Boney M

. 1966 ~ Jeff Healey, Guitarist, singer, songwriter with the Jeff Healey Band, CBC radio show: My Kind of Jazz

. 1971 ~ Tom Jones went gold with his single, She’s a Lady.

. 1972 ~ The group, America, rode to the top of the pop music charts with their LP, America, and the single (included on the LP), A Horse with No Name. A Horse With No Name would be the group’s only gold record.

March 18 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1842 ~ Stephane Mallarme, French Symbolist poet, born. His “L’Apres-midi d’un Faune” inspired composer Claude Debussy to write an orchestral prelude of the same name.

. 1844 ~ Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Russian composer
More information about Rimsky-Korsakov

. 1882 ~ Gian Francesco Malipiero, Italian composer and musicologist

. 1902 ~ Enrico Caruso recorded 10 arias for the Gramophone Company. The recording session took place in Milan, Italy and Caruso walked away with $500 for his effort.

. 1910 ~ Hold on to your hats! The opera, Pipe of Desire, was first performed this day at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Frederick Sheperd Converse wrote the work that turned out to be the first opera by an American composer to be performed at the Met.

. 1940 ~ Glen Gray and his orchestra recorded No Name Jive on Decca Records.

. 1941 ~ Wilson Pickett, American soul singer and songwriter; the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

. 1959 ~ Irene Cara, Singer and actress

. 1963 ~ Vanessa Williams, Singer and actress

. 1967 ~ The day The Beatles, Penny Lane went gold

. 1970 ~ Brook Benton received a gold record for the hit single, Rainy Night in Georgia. It was Benton’s first hit since 1963’s Hotel Happiness.

. 1978 ~ The Bee Gees started an eight-week stay at the top of the pop music charts with Night Fever from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

. 2001 ~ John Phillips died at the age of 65. He was the singer-songwriter who founded the 1960s pop act the Mamas the Papas.

March 9 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1745 ~ The first carillon was shipped from England to Boston, MA.

.1903 ~ “The Master of Charms“. ~ Claude Debussy on fellow composer Gabriel Fauré in the Paris periodical Gil Blas

. 1910 ~ Samuel Barber, Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer
Read quotes by and about Barber
More information about Barber

. 1925 ~ Billy Ford, Singer with Billy & Lillie

. 1927 ~ John Beckwith, Canadian composer and music critic

. 1930 ~ Thomas Schippers, American conductor

. 1932 ~ Keely Smith (Dorothy Keely), Singer, was married to Louis Prima

. 1942 ~ Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded Well, Git It! for Victor Records. Ziggy Elman was featured on the session which was recorded in Hollywood. Sy Oliver arranged the Dorsey classic.

.1950 ~ Howard Gordon Shelley OBE, British pianist and conductor

. 1974 ~ Many new musical faces were on the scene, including Terry Jacks, who was starting week two of a three-week stay at the top of the pop charts with his uplifting ditty, Seasons in the Sun. Other newcomers: Jefferson Starship, Billy Joel, Kiss, Olivia Newton-John, Kool & the Gang and The Steve Miller Band.

. 1985 ~ The most requested movie in history, “Gone With The Wind”, went on sale in video stores across the U.S. for the first time. The tape cost buyers $89.95. The film, starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, cost $4.5 million to produce and has earned over $400 million, making it one of the biggest money-makers in motion picture history. “GWTW” is now the cornerstone of the massive MGM film library owned by Ted Turner.

. 1986 ~ Bill Cosby broke Liberace’s long-standing record and earned the biggest box-office gross in the 54-year history of Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

. 1993 ~ Bob Crosby passed away

. 2001 ~ Richard Stone, whose musical compositions for such popular cartoon shows as “Animaniacs” and “Freakazoid” won him more than a half-dozen Emmys, died Friday at the age of 47. Stone grew up watching Warner Bros. “Looney Tunes” cartoons in the 1950s and ’60s before going on to study cello and music composition in college. He not only emulated the style of Carl Stalling, who composed hundreds of musical scores for classic Warner Bros. cartoons in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, but also incorporated elements of jazz, Broadway, country and rock music into his work. Stone also carved out his own style on modern-day shows, winning seven Emmys since 1994 for such cartoons as “Animaniacs,” “Freakazoid” and “Histeria!” He also worked on the cartoons “Pinky & the Brain,” “Taz-Mania,” “Road Rovers” and “The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries” and scored several movies, including the cult classics “Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat” and “Pumpkinhead.”

August 22, 2016 ~ Today in Music History

today

OCMS   1862 ~ Claude Debussy, French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music, though he himself disliked the term when applied to his compositions.
More information about Debussy

• 1906 ~ The Victor Talking Machine Company of Camden, New Jersey began to manufacture the Victrola (record player). The hand-cranked unit, with horn cabinet, sold for $200. Records sold separately.

• 1917 ~ John Lee Hooker, American blues guitarist and singer, born in Clarksdale, Miss. He began his career in Detroit in 1948 with the release of Boogie Chillun, the biggest of his several hit records and a staple of both the blues and rock repertoires. He toured continually, and among “deep blues” artists, enjoyed an unusually successful career, appearing in concerts and on recordings with many of the leading figures in rock. He was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

OCMS  1928 ~ Karlheinz Stockhausen, German composer
More information about Stockhausen
Read quotes by and about Stockhausen

• 1926 ~ Bob Flanigan, Singer with The Four Freshmen

• 1932 ~ The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) began its first experimental TV broadcast in England.

• 1938 ~ Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers appeared, dancing, on the cover of LIFE magazine, published on this day.

• 1938 ~ Count Basie recorded the classic swing tune, Jumpin’ at the Woodside, for Decca Records.

• 1942 ~ Joe Chambers, Musician: guitar, singer with The Chambers Brothers

• 1950 ~ Sam Neely, Singer

• 1960 ~ Debbi Peterson, Drummer, singer with Bangles

• 1961 ~ Roland Orzabal, Singer, guitarist

• 2002 ~ Frederick Selch, an advertising executive and magazine publisher who collected  hundreds of antique musical instruments, died at the age of 72.
Selch began collecting almost 50 years ago and owned more than 300 musical instruments by 1977.
In that year, he founded the Federal Music Society, an organization dedicated to performing music from the Colonial-Federal period. The group’s 26 players used instruments in Selch’s collection to perform in more than 70 concerts.
Selch was also the owner, editor and publisher of Ovation, a monthly magazine about classical music, from 1983 to 1989. He produced the Broadway musical “Play Me a  Country Song” in 1982, and in the past 10 years was involved in a series of American  Music Festivals at Illinois Wesleyan University.
Selch, who received a master’s degree in radio-television production from Syracuse University, worked at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency from 1955 to 1974.
He is to be awarded a posthumous doctorate from the American Studies program at New York University.

• 2002 ~ Richard Lippold, a sculptor whose abstract works are featured at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall and at Harvard University, died. He was 87. Lippold created giant metal abstractions, many of which are suspended by wires so  they appear to be hovering or moving through space.
His piece World Tree, a 27-foot structure of straight and circular metal tubes that resembles a radio antenna, stands on the Harvard University campus.
He is also known for Ad Astra, a double spire that rises 115 feet in front of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, and Orpheous and Apollo, a constellation of bronze bars connected by wires in the lobby of Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center.
Lippold studied industrial design, piano and dance at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago. He worked as a freelance industrial designer for several years before teaching art at the University of Michigan.
He later taught at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt., and Hunter College in New York.